Cutter is not allowing the wheel to be oiled

by Cindi
(Spokane Washington)

My cutter is often dry. I've taken the metal portion off of the oil cylindar, and noticed the plunger action is working, the oil is coming out, but when I try to use the cutter, it is often very dry. I've checked for glass chips just under the wheel and found nothing. Is there another place for me to check for debris, etc?


I can't think of any place else to check. Do you see the wick when you take the head off? You should be able to see the end of it. If you see it, try to trim off the smallest amount possible. I have even taken tweezers and pulled the wick down just a little, then trimmed it.

The other possible reason for no oil coming out is that the cap hasn't been loosened before you use the cutter. It takes anywhere from 1/4 turn to a full turn, depending on your cutter, to get the oil to flow.

Lastly, if all else fails, just dip your cutter in oil every few scores. It will work just fine that way. Put a bit of oil in a small continer with a piece of cloth or sponge in the bottom. Dip the cutter in the oil, then dab it on a paper towel to get rid of the excess. The cutter will be good for quite a few scores before you have to dip it again.

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Plugged Toyo Pistol Grip Cutter

by Kerstine
(Vancouver Washington)

The oil does not seem to be dispensing when I cut glass. I think it is plugged, but I don't seem to be able to unplug it. Any tips?
Thanks Kerstine


Hold the cutter up to a light. Look at the space between the top of the wheel and the piece that holds the wheel on. If you can't see light coming through that spot, take a small pin and push it through the spot. There is probably debris in there that needs to be cleaned out. That might be all it takes to get the cutter "unplugged".

If that isn't the problem, try putting a small amount of alcohol in the cutter and let it set for an hour or so. That might loosen up the oil. If the oil and alcohol starts to come through the wheel (you can tell by doing a test score) you can assume it's unplugged. If that works, dump out the remaining alcohol before you put any more oil in it.

Many people, including me, don't put oil in their cutter just because problems can arise from oil running out too fast to not running out at all. They dip the cutter in oil every third or fourth cut.

Put a small amount of oil in a shallow container and keep a folded paper towel near by. Dip your cutter wheel in the oil, dab it on the paper towel and score your glass. It really is not time consuming and for you it will give new life to a cutter that no longer works properly.

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Oil Cutter Dried Out

by Denise
(Norcross, GA)

I haven't done any glass cutting for awhile and my oil was completely dried up. I put plenty of oil in my pistol cutter but it isn't coming out by the blade. Do you know of a way to get the oil flowing again?


Hi Denise,

Sometimes it takes a few days for the oil to get through. The wick is stiff from dried oil and has to soak up the new oil before it will start working again.

If all else fails, do as many of us do. We just dip the cutter in a jar (small like a baby food jar) that has some cotton or a sponge soaked in oil in the bottom of it. Do that after every three or four scores.

A lot of people never fill the cutter with oil. Dipping saves all of the "oil in the cutter problems" like leaking, drying up, and adjusting the screw cap every time you use the cutter.

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Glass Cutter Problems

by Diane
(Vero Beach,Fl)

Both my pencil & pistol cutters' cutting tip does not stay in stable position as I score; they angle off to a side, even on straight cuts with a guide.The set screw is tight.Is this normal?Also, the oil wick gets dirty and doesn't lub the tip.Snipping the tip of the wick only makes it fray.How do I maintain my cutters..How long should a carbide cutter last?


Hi Diane,

Some people love the swivel head while others hate it. Try guiding the wheel with a finger from your other hand (as shown in the picture) and see if that helps. Also go to Your Glass Cutter to see instructions on using each type of glass cutter, and the care and maintenance of glass cutters.

How long a cutter lasts depends on how often you use it and how you care for it. I have cutters that are 10 years old and are still working just fine.

You should know that you can get replacement heads for your cutters rather than buying a new cutter. It does save quite a bit of money. I saw them for around $15. Just do a Google search for Toyo replacement heads (or which ever brand of cutter you have if it isn't Toyo).

As for trimming the wick, I only do that as a last ditch attempt to get the oil to run through. It's not something I would do as routine maintenance.

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Foiling Bevels and Leaking Oil Cutter

Hi... Yes that just remined me that my cutter is leaking, I have just been dipping in oil before cutting...also am I suppose to or have to gind prect bevels or can I just foil
thanks for your help love our site carl thoni

Hi Carl,

No, you do not have to grind bevels before foiling...actually you don't have to grind anything before foiling unless you want to make alterations to the piece. If you glass is of oil and fingerprints, the foil will stick. I always wipe the glass with alcohol just before foiling. The alcohol cleans the glass and appears to give the foil extra sticking power.

As for your leaking oil cutter. Does it have oil in it? You said you dip. If you just dip, you don't have to dip before every score. One dip will do for several scores. When I dip, I then tap the cutter on a paper towel to remove any excess oil.

If you have oil in the cutter, try tightening the screw cap on top. The cap should only be open by 1/8 to 1/2 turn. Sometimes it needs to be closed all together. Each oil cutter seems to have it's own "personality". Some are very compliant and do what we want them to do, others seem to think their sole purpose in life is to drive us crazy. It sounds like you have the latter!

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cleaning oil cutter?

by Mary
(Ft. Pierce, FL)

I have a very old pencil type oil cutter (probably 30 yrs old) I never used it much because it didn't flow well.....which I now know was user error. I didn't regulate the flow by opening the lid part way. Anyway, the cutter has been stored away (probably with oil in it)and I wonder if I should clean it out prior to putting oil in it. IF I should clean it HOW do I clean it?
Thank you


I had a cutter with a similar problem. It hadn't been used for many years and the inside was stained from oil being left in it. I tried cleaning it out by runing alcohol through it, but the results were definitely not spectacular! However, the cutter did work when I filled it with more oil, it just looked terrible.

I have since learned to dip my cutter in oil rather than filling it. I use less oil that way, and I don't have to worry about regulating the flow. I use a baby food jar with a sponge cut to fit the bottom. I soak the sponge with oil and just push the cutter wheel in the sponge prior to scoring. I dab it on a folded paper towel to get rid of any excess oil, then procede to score my glass. I can do quite a few scores (probably 8 to 10) before I need to dip again. Dipping might be the best way for you to deal with your problem if you can't get it cleaned out.

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